It is important to consider the recreational needs of teens and youth. This may include skateparks, multi-use games areas, fitness equipment and parkour courses. These notes are to help you select a suitable supplier who can provide a facility for your specific needs.
The industry standards to which all equipment should conform are:
ISEN 14974:2006- equipment – which covers skating, roller blades and BMX.
ISEN 15312:2007- Multi-use Games Areas (MUGAs)
ISEN 1176:2008- Youth Shelters
ISEN 1176:2008, Part 1- Adult Fitness Items
ISEN 16630:2013- Adult Fitness Items (which will be published shortly)
BS 10075 – Parkour
Please note that adult fitness items and parkour are for youth and adults.
It is not part of children’s play. Any provision should clearly state this and should be sited away from play areas.
The correct location of a skating facility is important. It should be easily accessible by public transport and be on footpath and cycle links. Ideally, it should be far enough away from houses to prevent any noise problems but where it may still be overlooked from a public area.
It is essential to involve local youth in site selection and design at the beginning of the whole process and also with the management of the facility through a user group. The addition of a youth shelter with good lighting, a multi-use games area or a climbing wall will add to the attraction of the site. However, don’t expect all skaters to use the park as street skating is an important sub culture among skaters. Skate parks should not be sited close to playgrounds for young children but if this cannot be avoided and the facility is small, then it should be separated from the play area by a fence.
Companies tendering for supply should be asked for references for recently completed sites. Rather than supplying off-the-shelf equipment and layouts, they should be able to work with you and the user group to provide tailored schemes to your requirements.
The layout of the equipment is important. A good skating flow helps park etiquette and safety. This can be achieved by ensuring that the skating line, or layout of equipment, is end to end. Potential collision points are where skating lines cross. Distances between ramps should neither be too cramped nor too far to lose momentum. Ramp heights should also give enough height to feed into other items.
There are main riding surface options on the market, including concrete and composite materials, each of which has its own characteristics. A bad riding surface will become unpopular with skaters and may suffer from lack of use. The best general surface between equipment is floated concrete but tarmac may be used if it is sufficiently fine grained.
Most equipment is the free standing ‘street’ type but sunken, sprayed concrete bowls are becoming more popular, as they offer more variety, are safer, quieter and are less visually awkward, even though they may be more expensive to build.
There should be easy access for construction and maintenance. If suppliers are unable to carry out the ground works they should be able to provide detailed specifications to enable others to do so.
Suppliers should be able to provide fencing, signage, lighting and shelters if required and should be responsible for site security during construction. Suppliers should also be able to offer a RoSPA post-installation safety inspection and risk assessment. They should also have a clear Health and Safety policy and site guidelines.
Potential companies should be able to provide a maintenance package, or include a site hand-over and talk staff through the basic maintenance requirements. You should ask for a maintenance manual written specifically for your facility and a pack of basic spare parts. A reliable after-sales service will ensure that the supplier can provide parts in good time if needed. Responsible suppliers should also provide comprehensive warranties covering their equipment and installation.
Look out for popped rivets, loose rails, flaking concrete and gaps between the rolling and riding surfaces which could catch a wheel.
Based on an article by Freestyle Skateparks in Public Sector Landscape & Equipment, June 2005.
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